Establishing a Target Plan for Which Piano To Buy For Your Church

Establishing a Target Plan for Which Piano To Buy For Your Church

If you’re a musical director for a church, it can sometimes be difficult to ensure you have the right pianos in place for all of your musical needs. Especially if you have members willing to donate one they are no longer using. 

Should you accept it? Or should you hold out for one better suited for your needs. Even if it means you have to pay premium dollars for it later on. 

There is a difference between a piano designed for home use, and one created to handle commercial applications. The tonal quality of one for a small home is different than one that will project music out into a congregation or auditorium. 

Large Sanctuaries

Whether the piano is to be used as a solar instrument or one that accompanies vocalists, it’s not recommended to buy anything less than a 6 foot grand piano that is performance or professional grade. If you have a large congregation, will be recording performances, or regularly hold recitals or other musical events, you might upgrade to a seven to nine foot performance grand piano. The sound increase will make the music stand out that much more. 

Choir Rooms and Rehearsal Spaces

Because these rooms are smaller and less critical, you have more options for what piano to use. A grand 5’6” to 6’ is perfectly acceptable in these situations. You can also move to an upright; just be sure it’s a professional series and can produce high quality sound. A performance quality upright 46 inches or taller can often produce superior tonal quality to many grands under 5’6”. 

Verticals between 48 and 49 inches are built for performance, with larger soundboards, longer strings, and heavier hammers. They work well for choir accompaniment. 

Verticals over 50 inches can often sound like a grand piano, and have good projection in smaller auditoriums. They are often less expensive than the smallest of grand pianos, making them a good choice in these situations.  

Grands 5’6” to 6’4” are midsize grands, and are too small to be considered professional. They work well in rehearsal spaces, or rooms where accompaniment is their only purpose. 

Semi-grands range from 6’5” to 7’11” and are built to provide high quality sound in smaller halls. They do very well for accompaniment work. 

Full concert grand 8’ to 9’ or longer are reserved for professional settings where solo work occurs regularly. If you will be showcasing piano in your concert series, this is the best piano to have on hand. 

What size piano is needed for your church setting? 

How To Select a Performance Piano

How To Select a Performance Piano

A piano is a piano, right? If you’re a concert pianist, you know that statement isn’t true. 

Because every piano is created in a different manner. Every piano has its own voice. And to play a piano that has a deep, rich sound perfect for your ears, that makes playing it that much more enjoyable. 

As a pianist grows in capability, chances are they play on a variety of instruments. They become more experienced at what makes a great piano, and what doesn’t. 

Performance pianos are often purchased for commercial settings – a concert hall, a church, or a school. Occasionally they are purchased for home use too, especially if the homeowner is a professional. 

While the average person might not be able to tell the subtle differences between pianos, a true professional will. And when it comes to buying, they usually have a preference in mind. 

Start there. Start with brands, makes, or models you desire. Then pay attention to what’s available in your market. If you have several on the table, eliminate the least powerful. 

A piano is all about self expression. It’s about creating the right sound for you and your audience. 

In the end, it’s a personal choice. 

Evaluate every instrument you are considering for:

Power – a piano is one of the most powerful instruments in an orchestra. It commands attention no matter what the size of the hall. Be sure it projects that power outward, and can sound good in its final location. 

Tone – tonal quality is all about pitch, timbre, sustain, and volume. This is about the sound the piano creates internally, and how it projects that sound out. 

Action – you can’t just purchase a piano off the internet. You have to sit down and play them. Because pianos are ever-changing, you can’t assume a piano today will remain in the same condition. It changes over time. But it should feel and sound natural, especially to the person playing it. It can be adjusted over time to create different sounds, but playing it will help the pianist feel the music it can create. 

Performance pianos should be acclimated to its final resting point, whether in a concert hall or in your home. Once it’s been inside for a few days, a tuner can ensure it’s properly regulated. Also, keep in mind that different people may be playing it, and have different ideas on how it should sound. We recommend acclimating it extensively, giving everyone a chance to play it and voice their opinions. 

That will help you create a piano that’s right for its location, for years into the future. 

Advice on Buying a Used Piano

Advice on Buying a Used Piano

When parents decide to sign up their child for piano lessons, they are faced with several decisions. The first being based around buying an instrument. 

  • Is buying a used piano okay, or do we need to invest in new? 
  • Will my child quickly lose interest in playing the piano?
  • A piano is a piano. They can start to learn on anything; can’t we just upgrade when they show interest? 

Of course, many parents wind up selecting a piano that doesn’t motivate their child to take action. And their interest in music wanes. 

Why?

If a piano is too old, doesn’t play well, or doesn’t provide the proper resources for a child to learn with, it becomes useless to a child. But a child can’t express this. They don’t understand what’s wrong. They just know their playing isn’t satisfying, they can’t achieve the results their teacher is looking for, 

For these reasons, we recommend learning all you can about a piano before you buy. 

Buying a used piano doesn’t have to be difficult. Your child can do quite well by learning on a used instrument. The key is in what you buy. 

Yes, you can find used instruments on Craigslist. You might even be able to find them for free. 

But if you do a little investigation, their story is often something like this. You call up the owner and they say:

“It was my mother’s. I’ve had it in the basement for a couple of decades. It’s in good condition. Nobody’s played it for years. But the finish still shines.”

The finish isn’t what matters. It’s the internal workings that create a piano worth playing. And if it’s been sitting there that long, untouched, chances are the wood and strings and other components aren’t in their best condition. They’ve slowly degraded over time. 

Without proper tuning, it won’t sound its best. And there’s a chance it can never return to its proper sound. 

Is that what your child will be learning on? 

Buying a High End Piano

Buying a High End Piano

A piano is a piano, right? 

Even in your heart, you know that’s probably not true. Why would there be so many sizes and shapes and brands if that were the case?

Still, we have a lot of conversations like this one:

“My daughter wants to play the piano. Why isn’t the free one I can get on Craigslist good enough? I can’t tell the difference anyway.”

“Have you ever compared the tonal quality of several pianos?”

“No. But a piano is a piano, right?”

Like every product you purchase, you get what you pay for. 

Those pianos you can pick up for a few hundred dollars will perform at that level. If they don’t have any value, there’s a reason for that. Maybe keys don’t work. Maybe the notes will sound a little off. It may have a tinny sound. 

And that impacts playability. 

There are significant differences in the manufacturing process of different levels of pianos. 

Some are handmade, while others are mass-produced. What that means is some instruments are created in a factory, every piece screwed, hammered, or bound into place in the quickest way possible to get it out on the floor, for sale, ready to bring in a profit. Others sit in the factory, lovingly worked on each day until the creator feels the piano is finally ready to release. 

Quality pianos are produced with performance in mind. They pay attention to all of the characteristics that make a piano sound great. Every tone, every touch, is played over and over again until each note sounds just right. 

Let’s go back to a parent wanting to give their child the gift of music. Sure, you want to ensure they like to play and will stick with it before you invest in more. 

But piano isn’t something you pick up and learn in a few simple lessons. It’s something that becomes a part of you, throughout your life. 

It’s a friend, something you can sit down and play when the feeling arises. It can be an ebb and flow throughout your life. It’s there, waiting. 

And that’s when buying a high quality piano matters most. 

Because it can be with you for a lifetime. 

It’s Time To Upgrade Your Piano If …

It’s Time To Upgrade Your Piano If …

You wanted your child to play the piano, and they’ve been doing well with it for months. You’re happy with their progress. But now, their instructor is telling you it’s time to upgrade your piano. 

What does that mean? Why do you need to upgrade? Isn’t a piano a piano? 

Let’s look at the number of reasons why upgrading might be a good idea. 

Touch

A lot of parents are initially shocked at the price of a piano. Then they struggle with spending money on an instrument they aren’t sure their child will continue to play. So they invest in something inexpensive, often digital. Something they find at their favorite big box store, perhaps. While this may be good in the beginning, it can’t help your child learn the intricate details of playing the piano. 

The biggest reason is because of touch. Traditional pianos have touch weight, which refers to the resistance the keys have when you press them down. This weight is designed to teach a person dynamic response. Over time, you learn to press into the keys with varying weight to receive different responses from the tonal quality of the music being played. If your piano doesn’t have that capability, you lose out learning this critical step. 

Action

Pianos have thousands of parts, each put together in such a way to create sound. Over time, these parts can start to wear down, creating friction in the way they come together. Imagine if strings are loose or broken; the sound quality won’t be there. How can you play if the music being made isn’t right? 

Size

The standard keyboard has 88 keys. Many digital pianos are built compact for size and flexibility. But without a full range of keys, at some point, a piano player simply can’t play what they desire. 

Size also matters in the overall construction of the piano itself. If you’re received a piano from a friend, you might have an older, more compact size. Pianos were built for a variety of reasons, one for compact living space. Everything about the piano was reduced, including the size of the keys themselves. Again, it’s back to the feel of the piano. If your child wants to move forward with their musical talent, they have to understand how to get full depth from the instrument. And that’s simply not possible on all instruments. 

Tone

Of course, tone is also a big reason to upgrade. Basic pianos will never sound as good as concert level pianos. Moving up improves the overall quality of the sound. If you want to hear the difference in piano tone, give us a call. We can share with you the differences, and help you make the right choice for your needs. 

How Do You Buy A First Piano

How Do You Buy A First Piano

Selecting activities for your child is something every parent has to do. Should you involve them in sports? How about the arts? Is music the way to go? 

There are many reasons to give your child the gift of music. It helps with memory. It improves their performance in school. It helps with listening skills. It can even boost testing ability. 

Great reasons for select playing the piano. 

Once you’ve decided to send your kids to piano lessons, however, you’ll have to buy your first piano. And once you choose to do that, you’ll usually face three questions from the start. 

1. I’m not sure if my child will like this. Should I buy something simple until I’m sure?

2. Should I buy acoustic or digital; what’s the difference?

3. Where should I buy a first piano? 

Let’s start with the first. 

We hear this statement a lot. When parents find out the cost of a piano, they often become wary of spending money on an activity that is so new. What if your child doesn’t like it? Then you’re stuck with an expensive instrument no one will play. 

Yet a piano is the basic tool your child needs to learn to play. If they don’t have a proper tool at the start, they are less likely to enjoy the process. It’s like playing football with a golf ball and walking shoes instead of cleats. If an instrument doesn’t have great tonal quality, it’ll be like playing on a toy. And your child won’t enjoy the outcome. 

There are good and bad points to the final piano you select. Some prefer acoustic while others prefer digital. But no matter what piano you choose, you should always ensure it’s properly weighted and has full size keys. Smaller keyboards won’t have the proper 88 notes. They might also have keys that aren’t responsive. They have a trigger effect that makes it feel like an acoustic. Without that, your child won’t be able to convert to other pianos as they improve their learning. 

If you don’t know much about pianos, it’s a good idea to learn a little about the process before you make your final selection. That’s where coming into our store can help. We’re happy to teach you all you need to know about making your final selection. We also have the ability to help you decide between used and new, and to work within your budget. 

That’s something you’ll never find searching on Craigslist. You might wind up with an instrument that doesn’t even play. 

And without that, your child will never learn to love learning to play the piano. 

How can we help you make your final selection when buying your first piano? 

Why Should I Buy A Baby Grand Piano Today?

Why Should I Buy A Baby Grand Piano Today?

When people decide to purchase a grand piano, there are many factors to consider before you make your final selection. You might start the process by looking for a specific make or model. But there are also other decisions, such as the size of the grand piano available. 

Each size is created for specific applications in mind. A baby grand piano will be different from a concert grand piano. Here are a few things you should consider. 

The difference between uprights and grands

There are two different types of acoustic pianos: uprights and grand. Uprights – also called vertical pianos – are built with the strings positioned vertically. This means the hammers are positioned to move horizontally, using spring action to control the movement onto the strings. An upright is more compact than a grand, which is why many homeowners prefer them if they are limited on space. They can be tucked up against a wall and allow a family to bring it into their home even with the tightest of spaces. 

Horizontal pianos – grand pianos – are stretched horizontally with the strings stretching out from the keyboard. When a key is struck, the hammer hits the string from underneath, and returns to its resting position by use of gravity. It doesn’t use springs like the upright, giving a purer sound in the process. That’s why you find grand pianos used in most concert settings; the tone is richer, more vibrant. 

What is a baby grand piano?

If you start looking for a grand piano, you’ll notice a variety of designations come along with the classification. While manufacturers do have some say in how they classify a grand piano, in general, the size determines how a piano is listed:

Petit grand – this is the smallest of the grand pianos. They are typically under 5 feet in length and work great in a room where size is an issue. 

Baby grand – this is one of the most popular grand pianos on the market. They offer excellent tonal quality while still being sized right for most modern homes. You’ll find them in the 5 foot to 5 feet 5 inches. 

Classic grand – these range from around 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches. 

Professional grand – these range from around 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 2 inches. They are often referred to as a full grand piano, and you’ll find them in music rooms around the world. 

Living room grand – also known as a parlor grand, these measure from 6 feet 3 inches to 6 feet 10 inches, and make a striking conversational piece in any room. 

Semi-concert grand – these are popular in music halls and concert venues because of their rich sound. They are between 6 feet 11 inches and 7 feet 8 inches. 

Concert grand – anything larger than 7 feet 8 inches is referred to as a concert grand. They are commonly used in orchestras and by professional musicians. 

Size doesn’t matter when selecting a piano. Pay attention to sound first. A baby grand piano is often the perfect choice for a home because it offers a rich voice with the most compact size. 

How can we help you with your piano selection today?

When Should You Buy a Piano For A Beginner?

When Should You Buy a Piano For A Beginner?

If your child wants to start playing the piano, you’ll have to buy a piano to get them started. 

Just like starting up football means you’ll have to invest in pads, or heading into the arts means you’ll have to invest in paints, having the right tools is all part of the process. 

But for a budding musician, pianos are more expensive than a palette of paints. How do you know you’re making the right choices for what to buy? And is there a right time to invest in a piano for a beginning piano player? 

Let’s start with one of the biggest fallacies about starting up the piano. 

Parents are often nervous about making a significant investment in a piano until they know if their child likes it and will stick with it. So they look for the cheapest option instead, choosing the “wait and see” approach before they lay down real money. 

They get one for free from a neighbor. Or pick up an inexpensive keyboard from their local big box store.  

There’s a problem with that. 

Would you let your child wear soccer shoes, two sizes too big as they try out a new sport? Of course not. That would be dangerous at best. It’s common sense to know that you need the proper gear to excel at the game. 

The same applies to learning to play the piano. If you buy a piano that isn’t high quality, your child won’t be able to feel the music. They can grow frustrated, and quit because they can’t play the way they should. 

A high quality instrument isn’t out of tune. It sounds great no matter what level they play. 

It has perfectly weighted keys, meaning there’s a certain touch to the keyboard, and your child learns to “feel” their way to success. 

It also shows you value their choices in extra activities. You’re making an investment in their future, and choose to give them every advantage as they explore what music will mean in their lives. 

If you want to buy a piano and give your child every advantage of sticking with it and becoming a great piano player, ensure you purchase the right piece of equipment right from the beginning. 

We’re here to help. 

Why Tone Quality Matters When Buying A New Piano

Why Tone Quality Matters When Buying A New Piano

Are you thinking of buying a new piano? What should you look for?

If this is your first purchase, it’s easy to start with the basics. Things like:

Location – where you’ll place the piano determines how large the piano can be

Color – piano color or stain will ultimately match your decor

Cost – price is always a factor

But to a pianist, there is one more thing you should consider when starting the hunt for the right piano for you … tone quality. 

Tone is how your piano sounds. It’s the voice of the instrument. It’s the sound that the piano makes every time you strike the keys. 

Even the most accomplished musician in the world can’t create beautiful music if the instrument doesn’t cooperate. Imagine sitting in one of the greatest music halls in the world and the pianist strikes a key horribly out of tune. You’d notice it immediately. The same applies to tone. Why play something that sounds tinny instead of robust? 

Tone quality is impacted ultimately by three things:

Physical factors

This includes everything your piano is made from. The wood used for the soundboard. The quality of the strings. How the action was designed. The quality of the wood on everything from hammers to the body of the piano. It also depends on the make and model, and how much care was put into it at the time of production. An upright will sound differently than a grand. A mass production will sound differently than a hand built piano. 

Placement

Have you ever wondered why concert halls are built the way they are? It’s to maximize the musical experience. If you’ve ever noticed your favorite song sounds different in your car versus on your stereo at home, you’ve also seen placement at work. When you shop for a new piano, they will ask you where you’ll place it once it arrives at your home. A small alcove will keep the tone smaller compared with placing a piano in a large music room. Furniture, drapery, wall coverings, artwork – it all can impact the sound. And that can give you a richer experience while you play. 

Care

Tone quality is also impacted by the way you care for your piano over the years. Do you tune it regularly? Is the room properly conditioned? Is there enough humidity? Is it impacted by drafts or heated air? Pianos aren’t like other pieces of furniture. Because of the thousands of tiny parts inside, it’s important to ensure it’s cared for properly from the moment it’s delivered to your home. 

Are you in the market for a new piano? Pay attention to tone quality. It will ensure you enjoy playing for years to come. 

5 Unusual Things To Consider When Buying A Used Piano

5 Unusual Things To Consider When Buying A Used Piano

Buying a used piano doesn’t mean you have to scour online resources to find a good deal. When you buy from independent sellers, you’re always taking a risk. 

  • You have nothing to compare it to
  • They don’t offer any type of guarantees
  • They won’t tell you the history
  • Are you really getting a fair price?
  • Is it something that will give you playability for years to come?

Luckily, there are a few unusual things you can look for that will ensure you are purchasing a high quality piano. 

Look for the serial number

You’ve probably grown accustomed to looking for VIN numbers when you buy a used car. You can use it to find out all kinds of information about its history, including if it’s been in a wreck. While pianos aren’t tracked in the same manner as a car, the serial number can tell you its age. If you can’t find it, it’s a good indication someone is trying to hide its history. It may have been a less-than-stellar refurbishing job, or simply a homeowner trying to do the work themselves. 

Ask for tuning records

If an independent owner has had the piano in their home for years, they should be more than willing to share their maintenance schedule with you. How often has the piano been tuned? What work has the piano technician performed over the years? It can also help you continue the schedule, and maybe even point you in the direction of the technician who already understands the nuances of the piano you’re buying. 

Play every note

People naturally gravitate to middle C. They may place their hands on it and run through a scale or two. But what about the other keys? Sit down and run through all of them. Play them all one at a time and listen to the tone they create. Do you hear a clue that it’s in anything but stellar condition? You should also run through all the keys while pressing the right pedal to check the repetition. 

Integrity

Do a thorough walk-thru of the entire piano, inside and out. Look for small cracks in the structure. Look for missing pieces on the inside. Look for varying qualities of artistry, which can tell you it’s been rebuilt by someone who didn’t understand quality. Even if you don’t understand the workings of a piano, you can usually pick out differences in quality. 

Bring a technician with you

Depending on the price tag of your purchase, it might be a good idea to bring a piano technician with you. They may see things you won’t. It also gives them an opportunity to assess how well a piano has been cared for over the years, and what it would take to keep it that way in the future. 

Are you ready to buy a used piano? Do it the right way and you’ll ensure an instrument you’ll love to play for years to come.